Monkey See, Monkey Do? What Does The Media Effects Model Mean To You?

Monkey See, Monkey Do? What Does The Media Effects Model Mean To You?


“Monkey See, Monkey Do?  What Does The Media Effects Model Mean To You?”
In simple terms: an unproven, unrealistic and uneducated theory is probably the most accurate way to describe that of the Media Effects Model, which was developed at the Frankfurt School in 1923.  It is a notion that proposes one’s behaviour can be influenced to adapt to a similar nature of the subject they are viewing.  Whether the subject in question be a person, a television program, a video game or any kind of media influence, it is all relevant according to the Media Effects Model.  However, there are many things wrong with this theory that would dispute its findings.

It is clear from the article 10 Youngest Murderers in History” (by Nancy Farrell), that the majority of young murderers are led to violence by factors that are not related to media, including those of poor socioeconomic status, unfavourable family circumstances, lack of education and experiencing suicidal thoughts which stem from mental illnesses such as depression. It might be said that people of low socioeconomic status are less likely to have access to media devices such as televisions, video games and computers, whereas the uneducated are also less likely to read books and newspapers, making it more difficult for them to be influenced by the media.

What the Media Effects Model does not take into account is that a number of people who spent their childhood watching cartoon programs such as “Tom and Jerry” where the cat tortures the mouse in a variety of horrific  (yet hilarious) ways, have grown to be perfectly successful adults.  The article “The Violence of Tom and Jerry: A mother’s perspective” (by Kim Keason) is an excellent example of this.  Less people are aware of these stories as they are not broadcasted to public audiences, simply because they are not newsworthy.

Tom has murdered Jerry
Don’t mess with Tom, and try not to try this at home…

It might be said that blaming the media for violent acts is somewhat the equivalent of blaming young women who have been sexually abused.  Some rapists claim that women “asked for it” through provocative clothing or behaviour, or having “wanted it”, as depicted in the article “In Love and War” (by Juliana Breines).  The media (like these women), should not be blamed for other people’s actions.  While I do agree that the media contributes to at least some  extent of negative aspects in today’s society such as body image, at the end of the day everybody is responsible for their own actions no matter what the circumstances may be.

A number of other factors that dispute the Media Effects Model include studies being conducted under superficial circumstances, in turn making the results inaccurate. The Media Effects Model also tends to look at individuals, when it should be looking at society as a whole, making it a very backwards approach. Children are treated as inadequate in comparison to adult subjects, which is concerning because children should be treated equally in order for accurate findings to occur.  For further details regarding these points, see this article: “Ten things wrong with the Media Effects Model(by David Gauntlett).

The following short video is a light-hearted, yet perfect summary of why video games do not create violence.  A particularly notable point that may be of significance is that “If you’re fixating on violence, you’re already f***** up!”

Parents need to let their children have fun while they can and experience the joys of childhood.  Before they know it, their children will be slaving away at University writing about the Media Effects Model and what is wrong with it, which is a lot.


Breines, J. 2012, ‘In Love and War: Rethinking the way we treat ourselves’, Psychology Today, viewed 12 March 2014,

Farrell, N. 2012, ’10 Youngest Murderers in History’, Criminal Justice Degrees Guide, viewed 12 March 2014,

Gauntlett, D. 1998, ‘Ten things wrong with the Media Effects Model’, Approaches to Audiences – A reader, viewed 8 March 2014,

Hanes, P. 2000, ‘The Advantages and Limitations of a Focus on Audience in Media Studies’, Aberystwyth University, viewed 9 March 2014,

Keason, K. 2008. ‘The Violence of Tom and Jerry: A Mother’s Perspective’, Yahoo Voices, viewed 12 March 2014,

Violence & Socioeconomic Status n.d, American Psychological Association, viewed 13 March 2014,

Wikipedia search, ‘Tom and Jerry’, Wikipedia website, viewed 12 March 2014,


8 thoughts on “Monkey See, Monkey Do? What Does The Media Effects Model Mean To You?

    1. Thank you so much for reading it and commenting haha! Tom and Jerry was the first thing that came to mind when I read it because I used to watch it when I was a kid. I knew the difference between fact and fiction, so I’m not a serial killer (yet). 🙂

  1. Just looking through your fantastic posts really make me envious of this time and effort you have invested to make your blog and posts fantastic! Really good job, well done!!
    P.s. I too love the Tom and Jerry reference! 🙂

    1. Oh thank you so much! It hurt my brain a lot to be honest, but hopefully the posts turn out okay in the end. Though I’m sure your blog posts are better than mine! I will be sure to check yours out 🙂

  2. First of all, love the title! That is the thing that drive me to click on you blog. The way you have set out your blog and the Tom and Jerry example you have use helped me to understand the Media Effect Model. Excellent writing!! I can see why you are doing a Journalism degree. Wishing you the best of luck.

    1. Thanks so much!! The title just came to me haha. I’m so glad you liked it and thought it was well written because that was my main motive. I don’t want people to get bored by my constant ramblings! Thanks heaps for the feedback, Emma. I appreciate it so much 🙂

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